In truth, it all began with what most thought to be an end. The Dark Lord had fallen and Lily and James Potter were dead, but we all know, deep down, that something of the dark always remains, just as something of the deceased couple lingered on through their one year old child. All over the world witches and wizards rejoiced in the absence of their previous sense of impending doom, raising their glasses in toast to the boy who lived- Harry Potter.
There were some, however, for whom the night brought no reason for rejoicing. A few were those close to the Potters, a precious few who mourned their deaths instead of excepting them as a necessary sacrifice. Most, however, were not. Those who thought this wave of trouble to be over were much mistaken. The servants of Lord Voldemort do not easily. admit defeat.
It was the rather chilling morning of November 1st, the day after the demise of the Potters that Peter Pettigrew was awakened by tapping on his window. He stumbled sleepily to his feet. It was an owl carrying the days issue of the wizarding newspaper, the Daily Prophet. He scanned briefly over the front page article, "You-Know-Who Defeated at Godric's Hollow," which was accompanied by a picture of a baby with wide emerald eyes, messy black baby curls. It might have almost been the sort of dresser top baby photo that could be found in most homes, but on closer examination, one would notice the flames in the background, as the ruined house burned, and the limp hand of a corpse that could be seen in the corner of the photo. A few drops of blood trickled down form a lightening-shaped cut on his forehead. He was screaming.
Peter Pettigrew finished scanning the article with a look of vague disgust on his face. He flipped through the pages of the newspaper impatiently until something caught his interest.
Black Arrested for Mass Murder
Sirius Black was arrested yesterday night for the murder
of 12 muggles with a single curse, and the attempted
murder of Peter Pettigrew, who barely managed to get
out of the way in time. Aurors arrived in time to prevent
further damage. Shell shocked witnesses report "Black
was laughing." The situation is being covered by the
ministry, including the large amount of memory
modification needed. Black, who is said to have been
You-Know-Who's second in command, and is beyond
doubt a sadistic madman, is safely in Azkaban.
It was fairly brief, and would be of far less interest to most than the attack on Godric's Hollow, but Mr. Peter Pettigrew seemed to find it quite satisfying, for, as he read, a slow smirk spread across his face.
Within two weeks, he had persuaded Albus Dumbledore to tell him the complete prophesy. Shortly after the Deatheaters dropped their plan to attack the Longbottoms in favor of a new plan. Six years later, the wards protecting Number 4, Privet Drive, collapsed.
Number 4, Privet Drive, Surrey,
Nearly six years had passed since the Dursleys had awoken to find their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly change at all. The sun rose each morning over the same tidy front gardens, and even the house at number 4 Privet Drive was almost exactly the same as on that fateful night when the youngest Potter was left on it's door step. Indeed, only the photographs on the mantel piece really showed how much time had passed. Six years ago there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different colored bonnets- but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby(in appearance, at least), and now the photographs showed a large blond boy riding his first bicycle, climbing on the school bus for his first day of kindergarten, on a carousel at the fair, playing a computer game with his father, being hugged and kissed by his mother. There was no sign that another boy lived in the house.
The Dursleys had always been proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank-you-very-much. Despite that, however, they had a secret, and their greatest fear was that someone would discover it. They didn't think they could bear it if someone found our about the Potters. Mrs. Potter had been Mrs. Dursleys sister, but for years before Lily's death, as well as in the years that followed, Mrs. Dursley liked to talk as if she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband had been as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. Now there was only one Potter left, and as the last remaining link to their most deeply guarded secret, they could never treat him like a normal person. Harry Potter was still there, of course, and it was for that reason Mrs. Petunia Dursley could never forget her sister, not with the emerald eyes that lingered on in the boy. He was currently curled up in the cupboard under the stairs, but not for long. Each morning he was awoken by his aunt screaming for him to get up and make breakfast. But it was still far from morning; in fact, it was the middle of the night. The cupboard door swung open, and his Aunt's arms shook him roughly awake.
"Listen carefully boy. The house is under attack. When they've gone upstairs, you must run as fast as you can, away from here, and don't look back." The door closed. He could hear himself breathing, a little faster than normal, and hear the pounding of the blood in his ears; his heartbeat, beating faster and faster, as if counting down to the arrival of something that could not be coming at all. There was a muffled creak as the front door opened, and footsteps as the intruders walked through the hall, and headed up the stairs. Once the footsteps had faded enough that Harry knew that they were out of sight, probably almost to the top of the stairs, he gently slid open the door and crept of the cupboard, blood still pounding in his ears.
She could hear the footsteps on the staircase, growing louder, closer, not knowing what to expect, or entirely why she'd done it. Perhaps it was because he was far too young to die, no matter how freakish, or because she'd never done anything else for him. Perhaps it was the knowledge of how much Lily had cared, and been willing to sacrifice for the boy. Maybe it was that she finally had to face the reality of magic instead of the fairy tale; the fact that it was complex, and as much as it had hurt her to be left behind, Lily had had to deal with hardships as well. Or perhaps, it was because she could not bare to see the fear and pain and sorrow that she knew would be reflected in those emerald eyes, to know how Lily's eyes would have looked in her last moments, and to have those last moments reflected in the eternally haunting green orbs. She remained quiet, a strange feeling of emptiness overwhelming her, as she tried to convince herself that it would not be her death that would grant him the last moments he needed to escape. As the footsteps reached the top of the stairs, she glanced out the window. Smiling grimly, she pulled the curtains shut, then walked to the top of the stairs to meet them.
As soon as he made it out side, the emerald eyed boy broke into a run, as fast as he could. Anyone who glanced out the window would have seen the small figure of a terrified seven year old child dashing across the lawn away from the house, never looking back; not as the air was filled with screams, or when the house that was the essence of everything he had known as far back as he could remember erupted in flames. He just kept running, breathing heavily, heart pounding, their screams echoing in his ears as they would later echo in his nightmares.
Harry didn't stop until he was well away from Privet Drive. He finally collapsed on the ground, completely out of breath, and lay prone and frightened where he fell. He waited for something to happen, sure that something would grab him at any moment, but far too out of breath to move. He listened carefully, but all that could be heard was bird calls, and cars in the distance. There was a slight rustled. He twisted round to see what menace had arrived... it was a squirrel, scurrying hurriedly up a tree. Several minutes later, glancing around warily, he slowly pushed himself onto his feet.
He had arrived on the edge of a neighborhood several miles from his former home. As he crept forward, he could see that it was a bit larger, and shabbier than the area from which he had just fled. The lawns lacked the impeccably neat and orderly quality of Privet Drive, and the houses varied in architecture and style. Some were coated in bright fresh paint, some faded or peeling, some in stone or brick. Some had children's playthings scattered here and there, others slightly overgrown. It was fairly quiet here, only a few hours before dawn, but it seemed oddly comforting in the dim lamp light, if only because of how very different it was.
Unsure of what to do next, he walked hurriedly down the sidewalk, which was slightly cracked in places, where the grass sprang through. He kept on quietly, a small figure hugging to the shadows where he might blend in, which his dark hair and faded clothes made a simple task. The houses, in all their variety, mostly had all the lights off, thought there were a few exceptions here and there, as most late nighters would fall asleep a few hours before dawn, and most other people weren't awake yet, though some rooms with the lights out probably did contain people who were awake and active. He didn't pause until he reached a small playground, where he came to a sudden halt. It was a logical spot for a child to pause, I suppose, being something familiar, and for Harry, being a symbol of something he could never fully have: a childhood. He had the helplessness, the fear, the loneliness, the pain that all children go through, as much as adults hate to admit it, but not the happiness, or protection, or comfort. He could never be the carefree child playing and laughing; he never had been. And I think, had anyone been watching, it would have been this image that would have lingered in their minds; the image of a scrawny boy in faded clothes rocking slowly back and forth, small hands clutching the chains of the swing on which he sat, silently, head tilted forwards, raven locks flopped downwards, emerald eyes staring wordlessly at the ground.